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The Difference Between Canadian Apprenticeships and Pre-Apprenticeships: Pros and Cons

Updated: May 31, 2023

In Canada, both apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships offer pathways to enter the skilled trades industry. While they share similarities, there are distinct differences between the two. In this article, we will explore the disparities and outline the pros and cons of Canadian apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships.


Canadian apprenticeships are formal programs that combine on-the-job training with technical classroom instruction. They typically involve working under the supervision of experienced tradespeople while attending classes at a recognized training institution. Here are the pros and cons of Canadian apprenticeships:

Pros of Apprenticeships

  1. Structured Learning: Apprenticeships provide a structured learning environment that allows individuals to gain hands-on experience while acquiring theoretical knowledge.

  2. Industry Recognition: Completion of a Canadian apprenticeship leads to a nationally recognized certification, demonstrating competency in a specific trade.

  3. Earn While You Learn: Apprentices receive wages while working, allowing them to earn an income as they progress through their training.

  4. Employment Opportunities: Completing a Canadian apprenticeship increases employability and opens doors to a wide range of career opportunities within the skilled trades.

Cons of Apprenticeships

  1. Entry Requirements: Some apprenticeships have specific entry requirements, such as a minimum age, education level, or prerequisite certifications, which may limit access for certain individuals.

  2. Longer Duration: Apprenticeships typically span multiple years, requiring a significant time commitment before fully qualifying as a tradesperson.


Pre-apprenticeships are training programs designed to prepare individuals for entry into apprenticeships. They provide foundational knowledge and skills necessary for success in the skilled trades. Here are the pros and cons of pre-apprenticeships:

Pros of Pre-Apprenticeships

  1. Introduction to Trades: Pre-apprenticeships offer an opportunity to explore various trades, helping individuals make informed decisions about their career path.

  2. Skill Development: These programs equip participants with fundamental skills, such as trade-specific techniques, workplace safety, and basic theoretical knowledge.

  3. Enhanced Employability: Completing a pre-apprenticeship enhances employability, making individuals more competitive when applying for apprenticeship positions.

Cons of Pre-Apprenticeships

  1. Limited Scope: Pre-apprenticeships provide an introductory level of training and may not cover the same depth of knowledge as a full apprenticeship.

  2. No Certification: Unlike apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships do not result in a nationally recognized certification, which may limit career advancement opportunities.

  3. Additional Steps Required: After completing a pre-apprenticeship, individuals still need to secure an apprenticeship position to continue their training.

Canadian apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships offer distinct pathways into the skilled trades industry. Apprenticeships provide a comprehensive combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction, leading to nationally recognized certifications. Pre-apprenticeships, on the other hand, offer foundational skills and knowledge to prepare individuals for apprenticeship opportunities. Understanding the pros and cons of both options can help individuals make informed decisions about their career paths and choose the best route to enter the skilled trades industry.

If you're interested in learning more about apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, or exploring the exciting opportunities in the skilled trades, contact NDC today! Our knowledgeable team is ready to provide you with the information and guidance you need to kickstart your career in the trades. Don't hesitate to reach out – contact NDC now!

Take the first step towards a rewarding career in the skilled trades. Contact NDC today for valuable insights and support!

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